Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Video Blog

My last and final post to my blog for this class and I have grown so much. Each week the assignments and postings have become more in depth and substantial. Not only did I learn to add photos, links, music; I also learned to use technology not only for my personal use but in the classroom too!

This is the first time doing video over my blog and I like the concept but I do not like having to hear my voice or try to make sure I am sounding okay! I can't tell you how many times I had to start stop and re do while doing this. Although Screencast-O-Matic made this assignment much easier than I was expecting. I would definitely use it again in the future.

I hope you enjoyed my readings, experiences and insight! Here's to starting my life in the world of blogging & opening my eyes and lessons to new Web 2.0 tools.

Happy Learning :)

Monday, April 28, 2014

World of Wiki

Up until recently I also did not know that Wikipedia was a wiki. I guess now it makes sense since we have explored the texts and “wiki” being in the work Wikipedia. In my early years at college I just know that teachers told us not to use or cite Wikipedia as a reference and I was not too sure why. Now I know because it is a forum for information that can be changed, updated and added to by anyone. 
I have used a wiki before but only in my previous class as an undergrad student. When I first used it I found it to be very different than any other website and tool that I’ve used. Once it was explained I was able to navigate with ease and was able to create a beautiful Wiki on Butterflies that was my original Unit Plan and a School Bag on Mnemonics. However those were the only times I used a wiki until now. Pbworks is the only one I have used to create my own wiki, however it seems now I have used and accessed many before not quite knowing what they were.
 I have never used a wiki in a classroom but after reading I realize that there are hundreds of uses for them. Once specific site had 50 uses for Wikis; some examples were virtual field trips, student portfolios, fan clubs, or a school/class newspaper.  Teachers can set up classroom sites, forums for assignments, feedback and collaboration between other classrooms and schools district wide or even worldwide.  While researching further on how to use wiki’s in a classroom I found these terms that were not only cute, but explained the roles of those who use wikis:
 – a person who can train others or help them get started
WikiGardener or WikiGnome – those who like to fix typos, find citations for quotes, fix broken links, and add links
WikiFairy - someone who makes format changes to make the wiki more visually appealing.
WikiTroll – those who like to insight a reaction from others by posting controversial content or doing disruptive things. WikiTrolls do not exists when wikis require a login with a secure password because they are not anonymous
Now knowing how wikis are used and can be used I would love to integrate the use in to my classroom. They are a quick and interactive way to get the students, teachers and parents involved in the learning of technology and the classroom. 

Here is a wiki we did as a group on TubeChop. TubeChop also works in tandem with YouTube. By choosing video and uploading it to Tube Chop you can select shorter pieces of the video to suit your means. This can be used in any classroom for any subject area. For example, you can take a part of a video and turn it into a writing prompt, or you can show a part of the butterfly life cycle. Here is our PbWorksWiki

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

As The World Turns

Spring is here and Summer is near. This makes me happy in the life of sunshine, warmth and water. Although, I find myself in pure chaos right now and extremely overwhelmed. As April comes to a close I am still recovering from surgery, school is 2 weeks from the end (with summer classes to follow), work events are every weekend through June and my personal life is in disarray between friends and family.

I try to be the strong, independent and goal oriented to get through each and everyday. As the world turns I find each day to get a little harder recently. I wish to find the perfect life balance. I know this will never be near perfect but I just want a day or two, maybe even a week of calm. My goal is to push forward through these rough and tough times and make it out ahead in the coming months. Summer is here and I refuse to be sad and upset through the summer, besides my birthday is in the summer! A perfect time to relax and move forward.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Digital Footprint

Google-ing Myself was an interesting assignment. I remember years ago back in high school doing it to see what came up and again in my later years in high school. Seeing as I have removed myself from all social networks or have chosen to keep the sites on the strictest privacy settings; I didn't find much. 
Most searches were not of myself but of other people with the same name. I was able to find more when I went into specific searches. For example: "Lynn Conners Poughkeepsie Journal" or "Lynn Conners Bowling." Most of those searches came up with the same information I was in the local news weekly for bowling scores or seasonally for high school or college bowling. It also seems that the journal has me for my graduation from MSMC in 2010 as well. 
This was an eye opening experience non the less and I enjoyed it. I will continue to keep tabs on my digital footprint.  Here is my video on my Digital Footprint. Enjoy

Here are some photos I found to be of interest in my searches on Digital Footprints!  I believe it is forever important at this point in education and technology that we teach our children and students the resposbiliity of posting and adding to the internet. Some day when they apply for jobs the internet will be away for interviewing most candidates. We need to protect ourselves and those around us by knowing that is save to post.

Here are some questions to ask yourself before you post! 

You control your own Digital Footprint! 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sans Gallbladder

The road to recovery.... Since I was diagnosed with gallstones and extreme episodes of pain I have been admitted to the hospital 5 days early with surgery to happen sooner than expected. 

My frustration on Wednesday was high. I have been extremely nervous about the surgery since I was told I was to have an organ removed; a useless organ for me however, it did not hinder the fact I was having SURGERY! I was so careful to watch what I was eating and preparing meals daily, I was convinced I may not even need the surgery. Although that idea went right out the window with my last episode on Wednesday night. 

Wednesday 10pm: I left work in extreme pain hoping the pain medication would help and I would go to bed and wake up normal as I had the last 3 weeks. Tonight that was not the case. My mom did not give me any other option but to get in the car and call the doctor. As I tried to settle my nerves and avoid the pain I panicked over the pending surgery that was now 5 days sooner. I knew no doctor would let me go back home with a gallbladder.... Boy was I right! 

Thursday 11am: Prepped and ready for surgery I freaked out and was nervous as the road to recovery would be better than the pain I was experiencing but I was not sure how I would feel or if my recovery would be as easy as everyone made it seem. Surgery went well although they kept me an extra day because I was too sick from all the medication. Another sleepless night in the hospital. 

Monday 9pm: Days later I am happy that the surgery has happened sooner than later, however recovery is still hard. I am moving around and not as sore as I was Friday (which was my worst day, physically and emotionally). I am happy that there will be no more pain, not worries over what I can eat or fearing a restaurant wasn't as careful as they said they were. Now I just make sure that I do not lift or over exert myself for 4-6 weeks and see what happens! 

The road to recovery sans gallbladder is hard but getting easier everyday. 

Mobile Learning

Mobile Learning is becoming a large part of the worlds learning let alone in today's classrooms. Mobile learning includes smart phones, tablets, laptops and small technological items that can be connected to the wireless networks. This allows teachers to be flexible as well as extend the learning outside of the traditional classroom.

When exploring this idea of Mobile Learning in the classroom I found a quote that I loved:

"there is no surprise that young people want 

to employ mobile devices to make education 

more engaging and personalize it to their 


Part of learning about Mobile Learning, I also created  a news letter explaining

  • What it is
  • How it works
  • Data and statistics
  • Uses in the Classroom
To see my group project on Smore. Click Here>> Mobile Learning

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


I sit here in complete exhaustion. How I am not so sure knowing that I just came home from a beautiful 5 day stay in Fort Lauderdale, Flordia. I always thought that one comes back rested, relaxed and ready to take on life. However, I feel myself reverting to the opposite.

Even though I have been nervously anticipating surgery on the 14th. I still went on vacation hoping the trip from work, school and life would really help me cope with the removal of an organ, regardless of how small and useless it might be. My time away could not have been any better, but the phone call before the vacation set part of my mood for the rest of my stay. On top of surgery, 6 work events, school assignments, and upcoming surgery, I have heard about the passing of a close families father. This hit me like a ton of bricks and didn't make the first day of vacation go with out a heavy heart. Now that I am home and said my goodbyes and gave my shoulder to friends who needed it; I must prepare the store for my time off after surgery, prep for events in the next few weeks, complete all school assignments (individual and work) as well daily life functions I am extremely stressed.

I hoped that April would be a great month; better weather, coming to a close on the school semester and work getting busier, I think I was wrong. Now I sit here and think, think, think...

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Gaming, Who Knew?

As I read this week information I have learned a lot of new and intriguing information. I have always played games of interest and thrown games of no interest to the way side; however, I never realized regardless of playing I am engaged and still learning. As I continue to go through the readings I am in disbelief.

·         Selected trends affecting game-based learning Selected trends affecting game-based learning include:
o   Widespread use of games technologies and serious games movement
o   Wider use of games technologies in the home is increasing the interest in the use of games in educational contexts, and in turn this is leading to increasing use of games particularly in schools and colleges, but also in universities.
o   The serious games movement is a trend towards designing and analyzing the use of games (and simulations) for supporting formal educational and training objectives and outcomes. The movement aims to meet the significant challenge of bringing together games designers and educationalists to ensure fun and motivation as well as demonstrating educational value.
The main conclusions arising from this study include:
·         Games need to be embedded into practice to ensure effective learning
o   Use of both leisure (commercial-off-the-shelf) games and proprietary games need to be embedded in practice effectively and in accordance with sound pedagogic principles and design.
o   More research is needed to provide empirical evidence for how game-based learning can be used most effectively
o   Need for more rigorous baseline studies that can quantify how much and in which ways games and simulations are currently being used most effectively to support learning.
o   More effective supporting materials are needed to support practitioners wishing to use game-based learning approaches
o   There is a need for guidelines, case studies and exemplars from current practice to inform and improve the quality of delivery of games-based learning across the sector and to support better future planning and resource allocation.
o   New developments including the serious games movement are informing the development of games for learning
o   New developments such as the serious games movement are facilitating collaborations between academic, industrial and government agencies seeking to develop proprietary learning games. However, further work still needs to be done to bring the games development and education communities closer together in order to build shared vocabularies and expectations, as well as to inform new learning designs to support effective game-based learning experiences.
o   Great potential and need for tutors and practitioners to become involved with games development for learning
o   The potential for educators to become involved in the development of learning content associated with these new games formats at this stage is substantial. This may be further encouraged using participatory development methodologies to ensure that tutors and learners have a greater say in dedicated content developed for games-based learning, and importantly to ensure compliance with sound pedagogic design principles as well as alignment with learning outcomes and assessment.
o   Need for more opportunities for staff development to support tutors wishing to adopt game-based learning in their practice
o   The potential of game-based learning in practice can only be supported by a more coordinated approach to staff development and opportunities for buying out staff time to allow tutors time to explore and experiment with existing tools and game spaces.
o   Potential for learners to become more empowered with game-based learning
o   Game-based learning presents new opportunities for re-considering how we learn. Using immerse spaces, learners may produce their own materials, share learning experiences and rehearse skills for the ‘real-world’.

Gamification Implementation Chart 

Why do we play games, Motivate students to do what we need them to do. Games are played because of strategy and choices, simulation, social interaction, competition, self-reliance and thrill and luck. John Radalf uses a chart to describe that we use immersion; cooperation, competition and achievement are the reasons behind playing games. All games have different reasons as to why we play, most people it’s the story behind the game and not the game itself. Many won’t play if there isn’t a story to follow as they play.

This PDF had a lot of information I was not aware of. Simply stating that we should waste 4 minutes of every hour playing angry birds because it will make us smarter or work better? I have played angry birds and completed what I had and deleted it and moved on to something new. I have to admit I liked the game, little did I know it was engaging my brain and making me smarter. All I thought was that I was wasting my time or using time up that I had free, especially on my commute to NYC on the train.  If and when I do play games I usually make sure they are strategy or learning games and try to keep my brain involved and actively thinking. Same reason why I read mystery books, I like to figure out the end before I get there; however, I’m not always right but I am always on the edge of my seat.
This article also discusses and gives lots of diagrams to becoming and expert. The more time we spend and the better attitude we have the more people who reach level expert per day, week and year. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Loving Animals

After reading the post about a woman who argues with her sons about keeping a dog they rescued I am compelled to write about the dog we rescued 3 years ago....

We already had two pure bred golden retrievers who were well trained, personable and absolutely crazy when they wanted to be, need not mention they wanted to be 75 pound lap dogs. One day my brother called my mom and ask if we could take in a new dog and find him a home. After more probing and questions we were told this situation:

My brother's girlfriend had a neighbor who was looking for a good home for her dog, he was pure bred golden retriever and he was well behaved. If we didn't take him they were going to take him to a pound where they would most likely put him down and not find a loving and caring home for him at the young age of two.

Being the caring and compassionate family we are we decided to take him in. We already had two dogs, what was one more?

My brother finally brought Jeter home and we couldn't wait to meet him. We all worked at different times that day and had to see him individually. To keep the other dogs from pestering him before he was well acquainted and to make sure no dog fighting happened we left him in my brothers room with the door closed unless someone was home to properly integrate the dogs together.

Not much after he was brought home my mom called to tell me "We are not keeping him!" I was upset and confused as to why we were finding another home for this poor dog. Well when I met him I knew why...

Jeter was not a pure bred, he was a mix of which we are still not sure of. He had pointy ears, fluffy hair, a curly tail and a very purple tongue. However, he was just too sweet and cute not to love instantly.

Even though Jeter was not the dog we thought we were going to rescue from a home that no longer wanted him, three years later he is the light of my life and a very happy and well cared for puppy. He has taught us new tricks and he has warmed up to the family after what we think was an abusive past. I am happy to call him my little fluff ball and wouldn't have changed it for the world.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Facilitating this weeks class was much harder task than I was expecting. However, I feel I pulled the most and best information from the articles and videos and posed great questions. Here is my summary and questions:

What is the difference between collaborative and cooperative learning?

         Both terms favor small group active student participation over passive, lecture based teaching. Both strategies assign group roles and encourage collaborative learning through working together to finish a specific task.  One difference is that cooperative learning is more structurally defined than collaborative learning.

        Differences can be categorized by knowledge and power. Cooperative learning is a methodology for traditional knowledge and collaborative learning is a methodology for social construct. Simpler, cooperative learning is a teacher based model where the teacher holds the authority and group tasks have specific answers, whereas collaborative learning is student based learning where groups are given complex tasks.
When these terms are used in conjunction with each other these are other terms used as well:
team learning; problem-based learning including guided design, case studies, simulations; peer-assisted instruction including supplemental instruction, writing fellows, mathematics workshops; discussion groups and seminars; learning communities; and lab work”
  • ·        What ways do you support collaborative and cooperative learning in your classrooms?
  • ·         Do you use them together, separately or not at all?
  • ·         Is there a strategy you feel works best?

Constructivism and Inquiry Based Learning

         Constructivism is described as the methodology that allows individuals build knowledge through their experiences. Individuals are active in the process and not passive to receiving the information. It’s stated that it is important for schools and teachers to get the students to think outside the box and thinking critically to finding solutions to the problems. The process through understanding and creating gets the students learning in a process that builds on prior knowledge and experiences. Constructivism is a theory behind the WebQuest Model and in support of inquiry based learning.

         Inquiry Based Learning is active learning by putting the learner in the center of the activity. Inquiry based learning is based on critical thinking, scientific reasoning, and problem solving. The strategy helps students become independent in thinking and generating answers to the questions.  As technology evolves in to the Web 2.0 world, inquiry based learning takes a turn into the WebQuest and World Wide Web to generate answers to the questions and elevating the learning experience.  
  • ·        Do you use WebQuests for inquiry based learning?
  • After exploring the resources will you start to implement WebQuests in your classrooms?
  • ·         Will you create your own WebQuests?

The process of cooperation and morality of experiments with animals

         This video was very interesting for me. He speaks about different animals and how they work together, fight, make up and procreate based on cooperation, food and discipline.  Much like humans chimpanzees reconcile after fights, they hug and kiss in embrace after a fight. The pillars of morality are reciprocity and empathy. He gives examples of chimpanzees and elephants. When viewing the video of the chimpanzees they cooperate to pull in a box that has food on top, they go to another video after one chimp is already full. But through motion, gestures and communication the other chimp helps out his friend get fed. The most interesting fact was that the chimpanzees will eventually return the favor for helping his friend get food.

         In the elephants video they have an apparatus around a rope and the rope needs to be pulled simultaneously otherwise the rope disappears. The elephants come to the apparatus where food is waiting; they come together, pull together and are fed together. They make the process harder and change the way they release the elephants this now shows the intelligence of how the elephants work together to reach an end result.

Synchronization- when I yawn; you yawn. Related to empathy, activates same part of the brain.  Autistic children don’t have yawn contagion.  He did this the same thing with chimpanzees and he also experiences yawn contagion. This idea is universal in most mammals.
Consolation- When someone is upset and someone else comes over with a hand on the shoulder to calm them down.
Pro-social- Tokens and rewards system. Red means they won’t share and green means they will share.  The chimp picking the tokens will always be fed. This study showed that they did care about the welfare and wellbeing of the other chimps. The pro social token rate went down when the chimp started taunting the other. One chimp saying to the other, “If you aren’t going to behave, you won’t be fed.”

           As he continues to show the life and experiments with chimps he feels they are getting closer to fairness and that animals can have it. Experiments were done with different mammals to see the changes or differences in each.

  • ·         Do you think most mammals have a sense of cooperation and empathy? Is it training or genetics?

Video-Clay Shirky about Web 2.0

          Desperate housewives, I love Lucy, Gilligan’s Island have dissipated thinking that built up and caused society to overheat. He states that, “Waking up from a cognitive bender that is now a cognitive as surplus than a crisis.”  How big is the surplus? Wikipedia in its entirety one hundred million hours of human thought. He breaks down the surplus as television watching 200 billion hours in the US alone every year, 100 million hours a weekend just watching the Ads. Very large surplus, what do we do with it? Experiment and find new ways to integrate the surplus and finding new ways to use it which eventually finds its way into society.  “Better to do something, than nothing.”

  • ·         What forms of civic surplus can you also contribute?
  • ·         Is there a form of Web 2.0 you think the surplus will hit first? 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Today's Inspiration is balancing work and home life. I chuckle to myself as I see this because I never have had a sense of balance especially when it comes to work and home life. I have been working since I was 13 and officially hired at my first job at 16. I have only continued to work 2 or more jobs at any given time to pay my bills, get myself through school and even create a social life in the work place. I loved almost all of my jobs and I enjoy going to school as well. Even though this is all hard work and expensive it creates me.

This is where I feel my home life suffers. I always had work come first, seeing as work paid my way through everything I have done. My family has always understood and never gave me a problem over working because my end result was always finishing my degrees and going forward with my career as a teacher. As I get older my family has always changed holiday dinners and meetings to meet my needs at work. I never stopped to think if this was setting the rest of my life off balance.

Do I work too much? Should I cut back and be home more? How do I change my ways? Does work really run my life? I think it's time to stop and evaluate my work and home life to make it better for myself and my family. My friends always tease me that I work too hard and I am frequently over worked and I do not disagree however I am not sure how to stop....

I value my work and every job I have ever done, I feel this will lead me to and help me be the best teacher I can be when I finally get into that position.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Interactive Learning 101

Technology has been playing a huge part in teaching today. Do we integrate technology? Do we continue with no integration? What do we use? What don't we use? How much is too much? Is it not enough?
There are questions brought up all the time in today's classrooms. Now most classrooms are using some form of technology even if it's just a SMARTboard.

After reviewing some articles this week I learned more from one article than I expected. Facebook Video Chat vs. Google Hangouts. First off I had no idea bout Facebook and video chats let alone Facebook and Skype have partnered up.  The article talks about the pros, cons and differences between the two. I have used Google Hangouts for my online class when our group needs to meet, for me it works great. Unlike WizIq it was much easier to use and all of us had no issues with our webcams or audio. I have not tried the new feature of Facebook yet and not sure if I plan to, seeing as I no longer have a Facebook and not every one has one, so signing up just to use the Chat Feature would be a small waste, when you can use Skype or Google Hangouts by using a phone number or email. I am interested to see what battles are created between Facebook and Google in the future as far as who creates what first and which one works better and sticks around...... Let's see what the future holds!

Another article that blows my mind! Methodology explains that it isn't who is teaching a course but how. This for me is a revelation. I grew up in a traditional classroom when technology had not made a big surface yet. We had the old school projectors that if you moved wrong the papers went flying or you moved it the wrong way and it went blurry. We had hunky Dell computers and floppy disks. Now times have absolutely made a change and are much different. A study was done with two almost identical classrooms and one was taught by a veteran teacher giving a traditional lecture--in comparison the other classroom was taught by teaching assistants with TV remote like devices. Guess what class learned more?  Yes, the classroom with the teaching assistants scored almost twice as high on a test.  This might just put us teachers out of business. If anyone with the knowledge of technology and the course information can teach than us teachers should gear up and start being hands on and loose the lecturing method.
                      "It's really what's going on in the students' minds rather than who is instructing them," said lead                            researcher Carl Wieman of the University of British Columbia, who shared a Nobel physics prize                          in 2001. "This is clearly more effective learning. Everybody should be doing this. ... You're                                  practicing bad teaching if you are not doing this.

                      Lloyd Armstrong, a former provost at the University of Southern California and professor of                                   physics and education, agreed that the study shows "it's not the professor, it's not even the                               technology, it's the approach."

The last line of the article states:
                     "Lectures have been equally ineffective for centuries," the Nobelist said. "Now we have figured out                         ways to do it better." 
I couldn't agree more!


Blogging To Connect

Blogging to connect-a term or phrase I never gave much thought to. Now that I have reviewed Blogging to Connect by Dr. Nancy Zingrone that there is more to blogging than writing, connecting, teaching, homework, classrooms, ect.

The simple facts that she states are so obvious I can't believe I have never gave it thought or realized what the benefits were. In today's world social media has given way to a much larger social interaction via technology and internet. Blogging is not much different than social media, but it's a place where you can post your individual thoughts and feelings while creating a beautiful page that reflects just you!  Each blog is differnt and we learn more about the person then just what they write about. We learn their style, way of writing, maybe even their favorite color and their themes of the page. The more time goes on I find myself using more blogs and connecting with people on different sites I never thought I would, (i.e. TwoWritingTeachers) and enjoying every moment of it.

Some things that Dr. Zingrone discusses about blogging are:

  • connecting yourself by sharing your personal ways
  • connecting to anyone-anywhere
  • blogging is your intellectual, personal journey
  • authenticity of blogging- sharing not forcing
  • use different blogging forms- see what fits you best
  • integrate different forms of technology 
    • screen-cast-o-matic
    • podcasting
    • voice thread
  • personal blog--blogging connecting with yourself
She makes an excellent point about writing and if we write on paper anymore. Most poeple are using blogs for writing in any form and not paper any more. Dr. Nellie Deutsch states that , "I cannot write on paper anymore."

See some snap shots from the meeting: 

This slide is of one she shares from a class the day before

 All the link she speaks about


Week 3 of posting my Slice of Life, I realize that a lot of the posts and inspiration is based off of poetry. The older I get I find it harder to sit down and write. I used to love expressing my ideas, stories and views from my personal point of view. However, I truly believe I let work and life get in the way. As a student and a worker for most of my life I never allowed my self "free" time. The only free time I allow is for my friends and now a lot for reading (usually before bed most nights).

As life goes on I reflect on my work, recently I decided to retrieve a poem I had published years ago when I was writing frequently on They chose my poem and it was published in a book for me and my grandfather purchased a copy for me to keep and remember. I remember how happy and excited my family was for me, every year they encouraged me to write for the news paper Halloween Short Stories (non which I was picked for) and continue to write poem and try to publish them elsewhere. 

The inspiration for this poem came one warm summer night when we were kids at my neighbors house. We live where there is ton of woods and wildlife. As a typical summer night we were all on the front porch playing cards and two deer come out to feed on the berry bushes in the clearing of my neighbors yard. 

Here is my first and only published poem:

The Amazing Sight

The house I know I'm at
Looking far and near
The warm air soothes me
As I watch the bushes sway
The mother deer comes out and looks around
We all stopped to watch
All of a sudden a fawn comes out to play
It stays close to its mom, not to go very far
As we watch closely, the fawn feeds on the berry bushes
Once it had its fill, it runs away into the woods
Mother following after
Not to be seen again for a while
Then we go back to talking
And as we did before
Also what we had just seen before

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Different Way of Life

It's Tuesday and I am 3 days into a new and different way of life. Over the last few years I have worked hard to dedicate time and effort to maintaining a healthy life style. 3 weeks ago that all changed...

On Valentine's Day I enjoyed an amazing dinner with my boyfriend, that evening after retiring to bed I woke with the most excruciating pain I have ever experience in my abdomen. I chalked it up to heart burn and indigestion because I ate very close to going to bed. However, 3 weeks later and 3 more episodes of this excruciating pain I landed in the Emergency Room.

Saturday night I only had two choices- 1) remain in pain and let it pass, not knowing what it was caused by or 2) go to the emergency room and see if it is serious or not!

1 doctor, 2 nurses, blood work and an ultra sound later; I  was diagnosed with gallstones! I am now almost half a week into revamping my lifestyle to avoid this pain... I have to say it is going well, I always thought I ate well but now it has a whole new meaning. I now have to be cautious of any food I eat.  I have to eat a diet full of most fruits and vegetables and avoid any fat, juices, and  meats. I realize how important this is to my health but boy is it hard.

2 more weeks to go before I find out if I loose this tiny little painful organ in my liver or if I get to keep it and these insane eating habits...

Monday, March 10, 2014

Digital Citizenship, Footprints & Internet Safety

As the sun gets closer to the earth and the days get longer I sit here and play games on Blubbr. I still am unsure of how I really work this site and I am not a huge fan of games. If I play games I prefer to play Sudoku and Mind Games. I prefer to read, but I gave it my best shot. 

I have played the Digital Citizenship, Digital Footprint and Internet Safety games. Each game is a short video clip of information whether it is a song, a person, a comic or just words and follows is a question on the information that was just given. The information is right in the video if you are actually paying attention. When I first signed onto the site they sent me to a game that was lyrics of music I was unsure of I did not do very well. However, on the ones I was asked to complete I did very well with the information given, although the ones I got wrong I was just careless and not paying attention. 

Here is screen shots of my scores:

After playing the games and reviewing the information given it is important that the younger digital natives of the world know this information before they access the internet. I no longer am a part of Facebook or Twitter, I do have an Instagram but I do not post frequently. The accessibility by anyone to this information usually only involves a few clicks or hacking into someones account. As a teacher I would like to play the games in my classroom and gain awareness to how important it is to protect yourself and those you allow on your pages or what and where you post. As fast as technology is taking over and making our lives more entertaining, easy and knowledgeable we need to create a world of safe internet use! 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Slice of Life

A challenge posed to me is to create a Slice of Life post on Tuesdays and share it on the Two Writing Teachers Website. I wasn't sure what this all meant but it is just a snip-it of your life that day and shared with the world.

Here is my Slice of Life:

Today's as I take the drive to work, the hour long commute on 4 different highways can leave me to have plenty of time to think. Usually about the daily tasks and upcoming events for work, school or my personal life; and today was no different.  On my way to work my assistant manager let me know that we were out of milk and she hadn't had time to get any. So instead of trying to find time in the day I drove to work, passed my store and down the street to the local Kings Market. Here I would pick up milk before work so I would not run out during the day. I went into the Kings Market and returned to my car promptly five minutes later. I then returned to my car back up the hill to my job. I opened the door and went to put everything away and get my day started. I had a lot to do after being off for two days. However, this mornings easy task of putting the milk away did not go as I planned. I turned on the lights took off my coat and went to grab the grocery bag that kept the gallon of whole milk. As I took my second step toward the fridge on the other side of the door the plastic handle broke and the milk went tumbling to the ground. As the milk hit the floor the plastic container broke and milk poured all over the floor and under the freezer. Luckily I was able to save more than half of the milk and transferred it to the empty container we had left from the last one. Needless to say my day did not start well, I spent 15 minutes trying to get the milk out from under the freezer so that it was completely clean. I went about my day and didn't let the spilled milk ruin my day, however it was a speed bump I could have done with out! What's the saying? "There is not use in crying over spilled milk"

Thursday, February 27, 2014

"Smore" Learning

Smore.... Well the first thing I think about is the marshmallow, gooey, chocolate, crunchy dessert item strategically melted over a camp fire from a stick.... But today's post is related to learning another EASY Web 2.0 tool.
When I say easy I really mean it. I have been using more interactive tools that I have never heard of, this one included and they are all very simple. They allow for buttons to add what you want (i.e. photos, text, buttons, links, webpages, etc.) and give you layouts to follow (which also can be rearranged to your liking).

Once I chose my Web 2.0 tool I was going to create a newsletter about I also had to choose what tool I was going to use to create that newsletter. I will admit that the name had captivated me at first and it was also first choice on the list. I went with Smore and I am happy with my decision. It works much like Weebly and is a drop & drag website. You can add any items and rearrange them to create flow through your newsletter.

Integrating this tool into the classroom would make current events, personal interests and any subject fun. By allowing the students to create their own newsletter or poster it sparks imagination and creativity while integrating Digital literacy with Literacy. I hope to integrate this tool into my classroom some day. I look forward to exploring it more and creating some new posts of my own.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Blogging, Podcasting & Oral Histories

This week my time was dedicated to blogging, podcasting & oral histories. At first I was not sure what to expect or what I was going to learn. So here it is, ironically I sit here and blog about it...


Blogging I had heard of multiple times via, internet, radio, tv shows (specifically food network) and my current education class. I always knew it was something people did or do on a regular basis some more frequent than others. However, I never realized how much I actually do too!  Before when I had a Facebook, that's blogging, Twitter which I don't have but have accessed is blogging, Plurk which I have recently encountered is blogging. Who knew?!  And here we do this on a daily, hourly basis as grown adults catching up with old college or high school friends, finding the trendiest stores and looking for sales or as children (students) who also connect with people, gossip and follow their person of interest in the music or movie world. We are all Blogging, or micro blogging when social media is involved. Micro blogging is the same concept but you are limited to the amount of characters you can post. Most of us somewhere are always posting out thoughts, concerns or ideas. Even when most of us are at work, in school or going about our daily business Blogging is in the palm of our hands. As most of us have cell phones and now mostly Smart Phones, all of us can access these sites via mobile apps.
Although only 8% of us 12 million post blogs and 39% of us read them, the numbers have increased over 70 million since 2003. The main uses of Blogging are:

  • Daily Chatter - using microblogging to answer its original question and purpose: "what are you doing?” The answer generates reports regarding routines and other episodes of daily life. 
  • Conversations - threading conversations between fellow microbloggers, allowed by the addition of @ to one’s micropost 
  • Sharing information - Sharing URLs to relevant resources enhanced by short comments. It can be seen as a user-driven or user-rated exchange of Hyperlinks. 
  • Reporting News – providing information on recent event
As Blogging quickly becomes the future in publishing and non publishing. Most blogs are categorized as online journals. Some post to just write and have a creative out look other blog to be heard and others blog to get feedback from others as well. Teachers who blog are always sharing ideas and gaining new ones by sharing with others around the world. Blogs have found their way into classrooms and are making headway with most. Although there are teachers who are still not keen on the idea and are hesitant to introduce it to their classrooms. As many feel blogging engages students and allows those who normally would not participate as much have a voice. The world is comfortable behind the use of words they can type and not always speak. In my research I came across an article that peaked my interest. I am not in a classroom teaching yet however I feel I would attempt to introduce blogging into the classroom. 

Click on the photo to learn 5 reasons blogging should be in the classroom. 

Pod-casting :

Pod casting is not new to me however I believe it has make a run at the future and changed since I have used it last. For me 5 years ago as my senior year and last semester as an undergraduate student I took an IT (informational technology) course to fill my schedule to remain full time. I was utterly baffled and slightly uncomfortable when the information was first thrown at me. I was a math major not a technology major and I had not seen or heard of most of the new tools we were using. Luckily I was paired with a peer who was also a Childhood Education major but a technology major as well. We worked well together and she helped me where the technology barrier was new for me. As a final project we were to create a pod cast. We chose to record using Audacity. I actually enjoyed the assignment and we scored a perfect grade. Although I have not used it since I would be interested to try again and create something for the classroom. That being said pod-casting is quickly being used in classrooms in all subjects. After reviewing the KQED Video I found myself in Awe! Monina Salazar who was unsure at first has introduced pod-casting and uses it in all subjects for major projects. She has also realized that most of the children already know how to use the technology better and faster than she ever could.
Monina Salazar explains that pod-casting allows the students to add:
  • Sound- place & time
  • Music- creates mood
  • Voice- which provides info
Pod casting doesn't necessarily only involve recording your voice or sounds over a Web 2.0 tool but the old school way of reading and writing and yes arithmetic. Mrs. Salazar expresses that before reaching the recording and pod casting stage she first works with her students write paragraphs on the topic at hand. This involves note taking, reading and researching before they can create their final project. This is a prime example of integrating the 3 R's and the 4 C's in the 21st Century. 

Oral History:

This is a topic I was most unsure of. I have heard of Oral History, my first thought is history that is told orally. In this I found that I am not wrong but not right either. Oral history is the oldest form of preserving moments, memories, voices and events of the past. This was done with old type tape recorders; but what does this mean as we move towards the digital age and the future of the 21st century? 

Now with technology virtually at our fingertips, how will oral history change? My answer is that it won't. It only becomes easier to preserve information we choose. Although this creates a question for teachers, professors and anyone giving a presentation, as to how or if they will document themselves and add it to the virtual library we call the internet. 

As an aspiring teacher and absolutely camera shy I am not sure I would want to document all of my lessons, lectures or classroom teachings. As I do not fear my credibility as a teacher or that I am doing something wrong but if we choose to add that information for the world to see we will forever be under review. Either stating something we don't personally agree with or a comment that is just through discussion with students; these ideas can always be made to make someone look bad.

 As one article stated that no matter whether we record ourselves through every lecture that we will not be mocked or documented by students and camera phones. There is always a way that information can be made to make us feel insecure or create an uneasy feeling of self. One teacher stated that he always records his lectures but edits or keeps them in his personal file of videos for personal use. Information seems to show at the moment that most lectures are being recorded in more colleges but not many are made for public viewing just yet. 

As a Graduate student and still utterly responsible for attendance and accountability I am still uncomfortable with the online setting of class lectures. I feel this will only become more prevalent as time goes on however, I feel that it will eliminate some costs as far as education but I do not think it will improve learning and grades at this point. What if a student chooses not to attend but the information is available for then at their leisure. They should have to attend the live taping in order to have access to the recorded version. 

Oral History in the Digital Age still has some road to cover, I plan on keeping up with information and contributing where I can. Technology has paved the way for the future in more ways than we have ever thought of. Where will teaching and technology be in 10 years? 20 years? 100 years? 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Web 2.0 & Beyond

Web 2.0 is still a new term for me and I believe it will always be. Web 2.0 is the technology we use today, everyday and available to us at all times. It is more dynamic and used to collaborate and revise posts, videos, articles or foot marks others have already created. One of the first Web 2.0 sites is Wikipedia. It is an open networking site that allows anyone at anytime to update and create new information with just a few clicks. I am still new to blogging and pod casting along with video casting. I have heard these terms before but they never meant much to me before. After researching and continuing to use new technology they are becoming more familiar to me. Web 2.0 is described as the "shift to online space that is globally coauthored in real time, spaces that are collaborative, peer-viewed, updated and revised."

The more I research and explore this Web 2.0 that surrounds me I realize that I use more of it then I originally thought. And some I would like to learn to use and start my journey using them as an educator. I use Pintrest frequently as I pin things of interest to me. Specifically, new healthy recipes, work out routines, clothing, quotes, football and baseball items and gluten free options. Voicethread is still new to me but I plan on using it for my class this semester. Some that I have never heard of but will look into using as I biuld my portfolio as an educator are Edcanvas, LiveBinders and Storybird. 5 Free is a website that can elaborate on these new tools. I think you should check them out!

Through out the articles I browsed and read through I found some very interesting information on what some schools have been doing and trying to move toward in the name of Technology and Web 2.0. The first one that I thought was interesting was from the site TeachersFirst. The article outlines an Elementary School that creates a school wide, home wide Web 2.0 program where students, teachers and families can be an integrative part of the modeling and learning.  Each grade learns a new tool and each year they carry over the old tool and learn new ones. As students advance more tools are available and they are not only limited to learning just one. They have students available for helping younger grades or peers and they also use peer-tutors for those who need more assistance. The thing I found most interesting is that they do not require the teachers to learn more than the tool they are teaching the students. I think that teachers should be experts on the tool they are teaching at their grade level, however I feel they should learn more, maybe the tool a grade above and below their grade and maybe one other of interest or a tool close to the one they are teaching to pair things or explore and relate. * If you click on the website about under TeachersFirst you can view the bubble map they outline with each grade and the tools used.*

Educational Responsibility This was an article I found to be most interesting. It describes different types of classrooms and a model they've been implementing across three schools, however it's what they state in the article that I feel is of great importance not only to internet and technology but to social media, cell phones and Web 2.0. They discuss a Flat Class and a Virtual Class. Both models use technology mediums and collaboration on the internet and through Web 2.0. The major difference is a Virtual Classroom has students meeting and interacting much like an online class but have never met. Unlike a flat classroom. They promote the use of learning through Blogs, Networking and Skype. I think this model is interesting. I believe it could be a great model or a bad model depending how well it is implemented and used by the teachers, students and schools. For the generations that are much younger and born in to this world of technology I feel this is a model that will soon be adopted by many more. The facts I found that are interesting are the reviews and comments by the students who are participating in this model and that they are "teaching digital responsibility."
The idea of digital responsibility is something all students and children should be taught in and out of the home. Regardless of the assignment or the use of cell phones information can be taken and transposed in a mere second. They need to know what is write or wrong and how it can be used effectively.

Here are a few comments from the article of the students describing their thoughts:

There are plenty of new skill sets at work and one of them is necessary in every facet of life: Being an effective communicator. These students are speaking, writing, and collaborating with people they have never met. "Everything that I have learned in class," says David Loomis, junior at MBAPCHS, "will help me use technology in a responsible way that can promote my creative ideas." In higher education and the work force, this skill is necessary. Michelle Morgan, a senior at Burlington High School states, "For example, I would create my personal learning network or PLN on ideas for college, tips and such, on swimming and diving, and other miscellaneous subjects that interest me." This type of learning is allowing students to create learning communities in which they have the ability to share common interests. Students must learn not only to be an effective communicator, but an efficient, responsible one. This class is accomplishing both. Principal Patrick Larkin comments, "I am amazed at how little the students actually know about connecting with others for educational purposes. They use social networking solely for socializing. It has been great to see the lightbulb start to go on in regards to them seeing these tools as a resource."

I have learned a great deal of information by just doing some research on the news, views and workings of Web 2.0. I will continue my explorations especially on the new sites I have found and hope they will be of great use, maybe not now but definitely in the future.

Literacy Lesson- Activity Builder 101

All this week I have dedicated time, effort and lessons into the learning's of SMARTboards. I have realized that there is a lot more to the SMARTboard Notebook 11 then what I have previously been exposed to. The amount of new and intriguing things are unbelievable. I can hide words and reveal them and I can use the new feature Activity Builder for sorting activities in every different lesson or subject. Yet these lessons are slightly more time consuming than most, however once they are done they can be tweaked and not need to be completely rebuilt or made.

As a task assigned to me, I created a lesson with the Activity Builder in the SMARTboard Notebook 11. Using the builder I was able to use shopping carts and recycling bins to accept or reject the proper word endings. Each cart is matched with a word ending (-it, -at, -ap), the words that do not match at all get recycled for another time. 

I enjoyed creating this lesson, although it did take some time to figure out why I could not get it to work. Which I realized I was not properly linking the accepted and rejected items to the proper place. I had originally tried to do this lesson with the popping balloons and have a check mark when correct and an x when wrong however that did not work and I could not figure it out properly and only found myself extremely frustrated. So I opted for a less extensive approach for this lesson. I will continue to play with Notebook 11 to optimize my lessons and creations for my classroom.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

SMARTtechnologies in the Classroom

After reading the resources on SMART technologies it is clear that there is more to the SMARTboard world then what I believe we see first hand. I have also noticed this after last weeks training.  Most teachers use the board as a traditional white board with out the marker mess and easy to jump from board to computer use. However, we can integrate so much into a lesson by using a SMARTboard in each and every subject not just discussion and lecturing like more students and classrooms are used to.

With SMART technologies the classroom will forever be changed for the greater of the future. We as teachers can create basic lessons and examples, notes and photos to elaborate lessons and questions for reflection with the answers already on the page but not visible to the students. This cuts down on time and writeing on a board you are only going to erase. SMARTboard allows us to write, create and capture for future use. This can be especially useful to high school teachers who teach multiple classes in a day with the same material. And this can of great use for elementary teachers when needed to review and reflect from the previous day or you run out of time.

Information I thought was useful from the articles from SMART Technologies. The first article was useful with the information that we can cater to all learning styles, we can be hands on and interactive along with visual and auditory. Not only can we cater to all learning styles but we can be in any environment as well as create it. Also, by integrating SMART technologies into a classroom we can help and aid to the special disabilities in the classroom with enlarged print, audio devices and they can participate by use of touching the board and being interactive.

These are two charts I felt to add to my beliefs and learning:

Article two discussed more uses for the teachers. When using a SMARTboard we can write, create and save all in the same place. We can create lessons before, during or after a class. Changing information or adding to it is as simple as pulling a photo from the internet or writing more after the students have helped give information. It's also easy to use and provides a creative out look for teachers and students. Article three was eye opening for me. As an elementary teacher I have seen many lessons and creative ways to integrate a SMARTboard into a classroom. However, this article gave me more resources and ideas then I could ever think of and for EVERY subject (even art and music). I never thought to go on a virtual field trip back to the Civil War and give the students a hands on experience or walk through an art museum. I learn new things every day. 

Although I am not teaching just yet, the other resources have provided a wealth of knowledge I could never repay. SMARTboard is something of the past and the future. Even though it has been here for years it is a technology that will only continue to grow with time and expand our learning as teacher and to our students. I have joined Smart Revolution Ning. I receive updates and emails frequently about seminars and new technologies and lessons others have posted. YouTube is also a god send in most cases. I use YouTube for various things such as craft projects, music and bowling tutuorials, however I never thought to use it for SMARTboards. I have watched mulitple videos now and have learned from the basics to advanced graphics and designs a SMARTboard can do. Google+ is something i am also no familiar with but starting to explore and love. There is so much out there we just need to get our hands on the right information and bring it to the classroom.

This week has been an eye opening week as far as what can and can't be done, although I didn't learn much a SMARTboard cannot do just yet. I look forward to exploring the additional resources and hopefully blogging about some resources I have found on my own.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

SMARTboard Training

This was not my first rodeo with SMARTboard, however I felt I learned a lot in the new Notebook and was able to experience the session with new eyes. As an undergrad I also attended the SMARTboard training with Dr. Smirnova; this was a few years ago when the boards were new to me. As I sat in the class and participated in the lecture I felt SMARTboard Technologies had updated quite a few things and added new features that would allow my students to be interested and interact during a lesson.

I have to say my favorite part was doing the magic messages by reveal. We used an example with a microscope and a flashlight. However, I tried to do a 3 layer effect where we would be able to find the butterfly under the microscope but I could not figure out the layering effect, I was able to hid the butterfly with a block of background color but I could not get the layers right to reveal with the microscope. This was frustrating and I was determined to figure it out, unfortunately I was not able too. This made me realize how much time I wasted on something that would be great but precious lesson planning minutes were wasted on something so small.

This is where I start to become conflicted with time and technology. We have the tools to create extremely interactive and time consuming lessons but how much time are we wasting on the actual details then on the material? Yes once it's done it is done and just needs to be tweaked but how much actual time should be used verses what is wasted?

Here I have attached a document of what we worked on:

Slide 1: just getting used to what is available

slide 2: recreating a math lesson

Slide 3: recreating items then moving them to recreate the photo

Slide 4 &5:
Revealing magic words or imagaes